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Syria blames Israel for rocket strikes near airport

Syria has accused Israel of firing rockets that exploded near a major military airport west of Damascus and warned Tel Aviv of repercussions.

The attack is the third such incident in recent times, according to the Syrian government.

In a statement carried on the official news agency SANA, the military said several missiles were launched just after midnight from an area near Lake Tiberias that fell in the vicinity of the Mezzeh military airport on the western edge of the capital.

It did not say whether there were any casualties.

Damascus residents reported hearing several explosions that shook the capital.

The Mezzeh airport compound on the city's south-western edge had been used to launch attacks on rebel-held areas near Damascus and has previously come under rebel fire.

The Syrian army statement said through its attacks, Israel was assisting "terrorist groups" fighting the Damascus government.

"The Syrian army command and armed forces warn the Israeli enemy of the repercussions of this blatant attack and stresses it will continue its war on terrorism," the army statement said.

On December 7, the Syrian government said Israel fired surface-to-surface missiles that also struck near Mezzeh airport.

A week earlier, SANA said Israeli jets fired two missiles from Lebanese airspace towards the outskirts of Damascus, in the Sabboura area.

The Israeli military has declined to comment on those incidents and there was no immediate comment on Friday's reported attack.

But Israel is widely believed to have carried out a number of air strikes in Syria in the past few years that have targeted advanced weapons systems, including Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles and Iranian-made missiles, as well as positions of the Lebanese Hezbollah group in Syria.

The Shiite group has sent thousands of its fighters to Syria to support President Bashar Assad's forces in the country's civil war, now in its sixth year.

Israeli defence minister Avigdor Lieberman recently reiterated his government's position to not get involved in the Syrian war.

AP

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